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Hillside beds here to stay, health minister announces amid public outcry

November 24, 2017

Long-term care beds at Hillside Manor, near Sebringville, will not be closed or moved to another community, according to a statement released yesterday from Eric Hoskins, Minister of Health and Long-Term Care.

“The government finally got the message!” declared Perth-Wellington MPP Randy Pettapiece. “I want to thank everyone who spoke up: staff, residents and families at Hillside, our very capable municipal leaders and staff, and countless concerned citizens. If it wasn’t for their efforts, our beds would be gone. I have no doubt about that.”

Hundreds attended two public meetings organized by the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care, while many more wrote to the government to save the beds. Some 3,800 signed a petition initiated by Pettapiece.

Such a strong, sustained response may have an impact beyond saving the beds at Hillside, Pettapiece believes.

“We showed this government how much it matters to have long-term care beds close to home,” he explained. “The next time they consider a bed transfer out of a small community, they will know we won’t just sit back and accept it.”

Hoskins’ announcement came the very same day that Pettapiece questioned him in the legislature for the third time in recent months about Hillside. It also came just a week before the legislature is scheduled to debate Pettapiece’s motion on the issue. That motion calls on the province to halt consideration of the bed transfer proposal until the government fixes its process and the metrics used to evaluate such proposals.

In his question, Pettapiece told the minister point-blank: “We can’t afford to lose any beds. Does the minister agree, and will the government support my motion to keep these beds in Perth-Wellington?”

Hoskins said he was “working very hard on the issue.”

In addition to his multiple questions and letters to the government, and launching a petition, Pettapiece also arranged meetings between municipal representatives and Revera Living Inc., Hillside’s operator, as well as with the South West Local Health Integration Network (LHIN).

Going forward, Pettapiece plans to continue speaking up for long-term care in all parts of Perth-Wellington—especially as it concerns smaller homes whose licenses are set to expire. He is also calling on the government to replace beds no longer in service since peopleCare Stratford was flooded in 2015.

Despite the community’s success on the Hillside beds, Pettapiece is concerned about the future of long-term care. He believes that government has no real plan to meet the coming demand of the baby-boom generation.

Ahead of an election expected in June 2018, the government promised earlier this month to create 5,000 new long-term care beds by 2022.

In 2007, however, the Liberals promised to redevelop 35,000 outdated long-term care beds in ten years. They completed only about one-third of that number.

“We need more beds right here in Perth-Wellington, and we need the government to start immediately,” Pettapiece concluded. “I will keep pushing them to do just that.”